Two top tens as all four Red-Lined Motorsport crews finish grueling race
Red-Lined Motorsport in partnership with the Penta Motor Group may have had a tough time of it as the South African Cross Country Championship returned to the gruelling Sugarbelt 400 after a six season hiatus. But the team starred at the rejuvenated KwaZulu Natal Midlands race at the foot of the Drakensberg as two of its crews came home in the FIA top ten and all four cars finished the toughest test in some time.
Both top ten finishers had to fight back from time trial disappointments on Friday. Conrad Rautenbach and Riaan Greyling eventually came home an impressive fifth overall in the Penta Motul Red-Lined VK56. “We had to fight our way through the field after earning a five minute speeding penalty in the time trial,” Rautenbach rued. “So we set off 21st and had a lot of passing to do, which makes our fifth all that much sweeter. “We are really looking forward to eventually having a clean run — let’s hope we get that in Upington!”
Ernest Roberts and Henry Kohne likewise stormed through the field to finish an incredible eighth overall in the Dragon Energy powered Red-Lined VK56. “We started at the back in 34th because we failed to set a time after we hit a tree and took a wheel off the car in the time trial. “Special thanks to the team for an incredible job in turning the car around in our toughest race yet. “We hope we made that all worth their while with a top ten result…”
Team rookies Philip Botha and Roelof Janse van Vuren made it ten finishes out of ten Cross Country starts as they came home 12th in the Penta Motor Group Red-Lined VK50, but it was no mean feat. “We likewise have the team to thank for this one,” Philip admitted. “We broke a front drive shaft and then lost brakes after an overshoot landed us in a ditch on the first loop, but the lads did an incredible job to get us back out for a trouble free 2nd loop. “We have them to thank for that magic 10 out of 10 finishes since our debut last year.
Eben Basson and Gerhard Schutte likewise fought back to finish 13th following a technically and physically challenging race. “We picked up an alternator issue, which resulted in a very lengthy pit stop and saw us drop right down the field,” Eben explained. “The guys did a really good job to get us out just in time to escape the time bar and we went on to come home 13th. “Thanks to the team for this one — great job guys!”
“That’s the Sugarbelt 400 done and dusted,” team principal Terence Marsh concluded. “True to form, this tough race brought plenty of challenges and curve balls. “In the end however, we had a 100% finish and all four Red-Lined cars crossed the line. We also made up almost a third of all the finishers in what proved to be a real race of attrition.
“I have to make special mention to our awesome technical team, who were responsible for a great achievement in a truly tough and grueling race. We were faced with so many challenges through the weekend, but the lads overcame them all. “Team work makes the dream work — we are extremely proud of our technical crew after this special weekend where the guys in the pits made all the difference.
“Now for the Desert Race in Upington next month — that’s the big one and none of us can wait!”
*Red-Lined Motorsport Adventures competes with premium strategic partners, the Penta Motor Group, BFGoodrich, Motul, Dragon Energy, Jonnesway Tools, Expand a Sign and Wheel Collision.
Resource: Red-Lined Motoring Adventures & Motorsport Media